future blogging

All posts tagged future blogging

So, I’m back…

Published May 17, 2019 by Iphis of Scyros

Class is over.

I wish I could say “yay, I’m graduating tomorrow!”  But everything that could go wrong yesterday (when my final paper was due) did.  And I mean, yeah, I got the paper turned in.  But I know by now to listen to omens when they’re that overwhelming.  (Seriously, I was crying on my drive home.  It was that bad.)  And those omens were saying “you are an idiot if you think you’re graduating.”

So, rather than getting a diploma mailed to me in a few weeks, I think I’m going to get a letter saying “oooh, no, sorry, you counted your credits wrong!  We could have told you before, but we didn’t, because lolz.”

Okay, yeah, a university would never send a letter that said “lolz,” but you get the idea.

It might not even be that I counted my credits wrong.  What if some jerk pulled my paper out from under the professor’s door and threw it away, just because they thought that’d be a funny prank?  (Yes, the professor actually asked us to just stick the papers under the door to his office.  It’s pretty typical of him.)  Imagine failing your final class because some passing creep decided to have a laugh at the expense of hard-working students!

Anyway, doesn’t matter.

Even if — when — the inevitable letter comes to say I didn’t really graduate after all, I’m done with school.  I can’t handle another semester.  I’m not smart enough.  I was a fool to think I ever had the brains to try getting a Master’s Degree in the first place.

So, now that I’m free from my student responsibilities for good — one way or the other — I’m going to get back to  blogging again.  I’ve been looking over this year’s Read Harder list, and I’ve already met four of the challenges, so I’ll post about those in the next few days.

Other than that, I also want to post my final paper.  Not until I’ve heard back from the school, of course!  (I don’t know how plagiarism checkers work, but if they scan the internet as well as published works, then I could get accused of “plagiarizing” myself.)  It’s not a great paper, but I got a lot of really interesting material, stuff people don’t tend to know about.  If I ever lose my job and win the lottery (lol, like I could win the lottery, especially when I don’t usually even enter it), I think going to England to cull and publish a lot of the primary documents that I didn’t have available for this paper would be a great use of my time.

Posting the paper will probably be three or four posts (it was 27 pages long), and hopefully by then I’ll have figured out how I want to keep going with this blog.  I mean, I know I want to keep posting reports on the books I read for Read Harder (and noteworthy ones that aren’t for Read Harder), but I’m not sure what my “usual” posts will be.

I need to get back in the habit of writing — I definitely plan on taking part in July’s Camp NaNo session — so I may post about that process, and/or post some of the results.

Other than that…I dunno.  I’ll see if I get a new rhythm going, or if the blog just becomes “random eclectica.”

IWSG – Twas the Month Before NaNo…

Published October 3, 2018 by Iphis of Scyros

Ack, I forgot to pre-write this!  *cough*

I find myself in pretty much the same place I was last month, with not getting much done on my re-write and desperately hoping I’ll finish it before NaNoWriMo starts.  Only it’s not just slow going because I’m having trouble motivating myself to get working on it.  It’s also slow because my class work picked up.  It’s been a while since I was in a really heavy-duty class (doesn’t help that I didn’t take a class last semester), and this one is turning out to be particularly intensive.  Like, one week the professor assigned us a thousand pages of reading and didn’t see what was wrong with that.  Even though she knows most of the students are either working full time or are taking multiple other graduate level courses.  Argh.

Speaking of “argh,” I had a strange dilemma come up a few days ago as I was working on the re-write.  The way this level of the re-write is going, I’m tending to copy-and-paste anything that doesn’t need to be changed to accommodate the new version of one of my leads, right?  (Because further refining those scenes can wait until the next draft.)  So in pursuing one of the radically, radically, radically different sequences, I had been so eager to move ahead (because it was just fresh composition, rather than trying to tell the same basic sequence of events with a different character) that I had skipped over a “cut-away” scene to show what some of the less prominent characters were up to.  After I realized that, and went in and put it in place, I remembered that at the last Camp NaNo session, I had written another “cut-away” scene to show what one of the antagonists was up to, and it had to go sometime in front of the previous one.  Then….

…..okay, let me start over with a few more details so it won’t get too confusing.  The main antagonist of this book is the prince of the country it takes place in, who is also the ex-boyfriend of one of the main leads.  However, the main antagonist of the series (yes, this is book one of a series) is the king, not the prince.  And although I talked a lot about the king in all the earlier drafts, he never once showed up.  So I had written a scene where the king is having a fit and orders his son to go hunt down that pernicious ex-boyfriend of his.  This was to lead into the “cut-away” scene I already had, where the prince goes to the bad-ass lady sky pirate and asks her help in approaching his ex-boyfriend.  So what happened the other day is that after putting in the scene with the lady pirate, I remembered the other scene, went to read it and figure out where best to insert it into the draft…and found out that I had written it in such a way that it was required to go after a battle against the Royal Navy that hadn’t happened yet.

*sigh*

Honestly, the worst part about that is that it meant that the entire writing session (most days I only manage to write in the interim between breakfast and leaving for work) turned out to be wasted, because everything I had done had to be undone because it was in the wrong place.

Delays like that are one of the main reasons I’m worried I won’t get the re-write done before November.  My class is the other reason, because I’m supposed to be spending October doing research for my final paper…not that she’s letting up with the heavy assigned reading for a second.  Ugh.  I am so ready to graduate that I can’t stand it.  (But I definitely need to take one more class after this, which really sucks.)

I’ve had some thoughts about my NaNo project, too.

My plan is to write out some of the myths of the world of this novel, because I keep having characters refer to their gods without my having a very firm idea of who those gods are or how they function in their societies.  One of the characters in the novel (in the new draft, anyway) is a scholar, so I just decided to set him up as more of a folklorist/mythologist instead of a historian, so he’s going to be the “author” of this book in-world, and that way I don’t have to worry about trying to change narrative voices between cultures.  And I think I may have said all that last month?  Well, anyway, my plans have narrowed and focused a bit since then.  Originally, I wanted to write every culture’s main myths, but since I want them all inspired by real cultures, that would require a lot more research than I have time for.  Instead, I’m going to just do the three cultures my three leads come from.  (If I finish all that and still have time, I might address the two cultures that are going to come up in the next book, one based on Nordic/Teutonic myth, and the other…uh…I have no idea what to base it on.  I need to research what little we know about Gaulish myth…but I fear it was not much different from the Celtic myths of the British Isles…)

So I’m going to write the main myths of three cultures, one inspired by Celtic, one inspired by Greek and one inspired by Roman myths.  Once I’ve done the basic mythic background material, then I’m going to do that character’s “paraphrases” of the major mythic cycles.  And that’s where it’s going to get tricky, because a large part of the plot of the series is that a thousand years before the action of the books, a mystical doodad was used to erase all knowledge and memory of war from the minds of the human race.  It began to wear off after about nine hundred years, so there’s war again in the present, but there can’t be any wars or knowledge of war left in their myths…

…and that means I have to write myths that have obvious places where there used to be war, but it’s been removed and/or replaced.  The Celtic mythic cycle will be easiest in that respect:  I plan on it being about a character who’s basically a fusion of Cu Chulainn and King Arthur, so I can replace wars with jousts and tournaments.  (And it’s not like personal violence between individuals went away along with wars…)  But the Greek and Roman mythic cycles?  How do you tell a “based on the Trojan War” story in a world without the concept of war?  Actually, the Roman one will be easier, since the major mythic cycle that the Romans don’t share with the Greeks is the journey of Aeneas (only important post-Vergil, of course) and the foundation of Rome, and I can always have their culture hero fleeing his distant home because of a natural disaster instead of it being destroyed in war.  But for the Greeks, it’ll be trickier.  All the more so because I’m flouting the typical thing and my based-on-ancient-Greece culture isn’t based on our modern idealized vision of Athens (because let’s face it, the real thing was not such a pretty, erudite democracy) but instead based on the horrible, slave-powered reality of ancient Sparta.  Which means their favorite god wasn’t the noble Athene but the brutal Ares.  Athene can be reworked easily without the war part (some people probably forget she’s a goddess of war as well as of wisdom) but Ares?  Without war, all he’s got is sleeping with Aphrodite and hiding in bronze jars when Olympos is invaded by giants.  It’s going to be a real challenge to reinvent him both without war and yet while making it clear that he’s supposed to be a god of war.  (I may have to make him a god of martial arts, as it were, but even that doesn’t work because “martial” is still a reference to war…)

Anyway, strangely, despite that it sounds like I’m filled with worries for my writing, my main writing worry is…okay, actually, I have two.  One, I feel like I’m gonna flip out if I can’t write some fanfic soon and let out all my crazy new fantasies about my current OTP, but I don’t want to do that before I finish my rewrite, because I don’t want to contaminate the characters, and my brain is slow to change over between sets of characters in my writing.  The second — and bigger — thing is that I seem to have totally lost my blogging habit.  (I don’t even want to think about how far behind I am in reading blogs, either…)  I think it’s because I started work on the review of a book I really didn’t like, and the idea of finishing it feels oppressive.  Maybe I should just write a preface and post it as an “abandoned” review…?

I did actually have a good idea for how to start blogging again, though.  One that should help with my writing, even.  I just can’t act on it yet.  Among the altogether too many things I’ve backed on Kickstarter have been some card-based party games that I plan to use as writing prompts rather than games.  For example, one of them is called “Pitch Storm” (I think), and you get a set of cards suggesting ridiculous movie premises, complete with asinine notes from an incompetent executive, and you’re supposed to pitch the movie that would result.  So, what I plan to do instead is to write a brief story (or possibly detailed summary) based on the cards.  And I thought I’d post that to my blog.  But the game hasn’t been produced and shipped yet, so I can’t do that yet.  (There’s one or two others I plan on using for writing prompts, too.  I actually have one of them already, but it’s going to be the hardest to use for the purpose, it turns out, and I haven’t had a chance to try yet.)

Looking (far) ahead to April

Published February 9, 2016 by Iphis of Scyros

Random, I know, but for some reason I’ve started thinking about whether or not I’m going to do April A-to-Z again this year.  (Probably because a week ago or so one of the blogs I follow mentioned having already signed up for it.)  I’ve especially been thinking about it today, ’cause my paper for tomorrow flowed out of my fingertips like butter, despite the late start, so I was able to spend pretty much all day doing nothing, especially because the snow on the driveway melted in the brief window of sunlight before I went out to clean it up.  (Admittedly, I spent most of the day gaming, but…I tend to think about other stuff while I’m gaming.)

On the one hand, it was a lot of fun, and I felt like people enjoyed what I was writing.  (Some of the time, anyway.)

On the other hand, my class work last April was a lot less draining on my time than this semester’s will be, and by April I will hopefully be gainfully employed.  (Hopefully.  I’m not sure of the time table involved.)  So I’ll have a lot less time to devote to it, meaning that massive walls of text on a daily basis aren’t likely to happen.

Also, I feel like I’m going to run out of stuff to say if I stick to the Greek myths for the whole A-to-Z encounter.  (Especially what with several letters in the English alphabet not being in the Greek one.)

So I was thinking that I’d widen my focus this April, and do world mythology, instead of just Greek mythology.  (Though I’ll probably still throw in one or two Greco-Roman ones where appropriate…or possibly where inappropriate…I wonder if it’s okay to post NSFW pictures on WordPress if they’re also photos of ancient art?)

I was also thinking that it’d be faster if, instead of just a wall of text every day, I posted a pertinent photo of art of the myth/mythical figure in question, always art from the society in question, naturally.  (Not that I have all that many photos of my own to use; I’ll have to get the rest from Wikimedia Commons or someplace.  I have an idea for a post using one or more of my pictures from Peru, and I know I could get a number of posts from the photos I took on my trip to England — I’m pretty sure I did scan all of those in — but beyond that, I don’t have many of my own photos to use.)  My thinking, of course, being that if I post a picture, then maybe I won’t write quite as much.

So, you may be wondering why I’m telling you this, right?  Well, because I thought it’d be a good idea to make sure no one violently objected before I committed to doing something like this.  I don’t want to be spamming anyone’s reader with posts they’ll hate, right?  (Okay, yeah, I realize that’s not likely to be an issue, but…I dunno.  I just felt like I should post this.  Because I’m me.)

Of course, where it’ll really be challenging will be on Mondays.  Because I won’t put Missing Letter Mondays on hold, so I’ll have to come up with a subject that fits the world mythology theme and the day’s April letter, without using the week’s forbidden letter.  Now that will be a challenge!  (I did check already, though, and in no cases will the two letters be the same.  If they were…I think I’d have to do two posts in the same day, one for Missing Letter Mondays and the other for April A-to-Z.  Technically, I suppose I could still do that if I found myself struggling.)

Obviously, if I end up doing it, I’m going to have to start working on it now, and have all — or almost all — of the posts written long before April gets here.  Which might defeat the purpose?  Hmm…I should go to the site and check out the rules before I commit…

The Creepiest Room in the Library

Published May 3, 2015 by Iphis of Scyros

In lieu of the post I wrote earlier today (Thursday, btw), I thought I’d share this with you. Because otherwise it will fester within me, and give me nightmares.

So, my book from inter-library loan came in today, which is great.  (Not so great is that I only have it for three weeks, instead of the six months that graduate students usually get.)  But I thought that while I was at the library, I ought to be responsible (ha!) and look for some more sources for my final research paper.  So I clicked around in the library catalog for a while, and found a couple of things that looked like they might work, if I was really lucky.  But because they were old surveys, they were in the government documents section of the library.

I had no idea there even was such a section.  I had to click on the link to see where it was located.

My university’s library has five floors to it. Two are below ground, so you enter on what is officially called the third floor. (No idea why they don’t call those the basement levels, but…’tain’t like they asked me about it!  In fact, I doubt I’d been born yet when the library was built.  Though this university is actually only a bit more than 50 years old, so I suppose it’s conceivable that the building isn’t older than I am.)  Anyway, the government documents are stored on the second floor, that is, the upper basement level, and they are, in essence, tucked away behind the staircase.  I didn’t even know there were books there.  I had always thought that entire half of the second floor was office space for the library staff.  (And a large chunk of it actually is.)

So I’m already out of my comfort zone, being in a place I considered “off-limits to students” even though it actually wasn’t. (Keep in mind, this is my fourth year at this university.  Three as an undergrad, one as a graduate student.  And I did’’t know this part of the library housed a collection.)

I go down this narrow hallway with sterile white walls, passing old black and white photos, mostly of trains and trainyards.  Turning a corner at an emergency exit door, blazened with huge warnings about how the door is alarmed, the photos stop.  In the distance, I can see the carpeting give way to bare concrete floors, and a row of unwelcoming tables and benches beside racks of tax documents.

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